Cinnabon posted — and quickly deleted — a tweet Tuesday that was intended to honor Carrie Fisher but struck some observers as offensive, in poor taste, or even attempting to capitalize on the Star Wars actress’ death, KVUE (Austin) is reporting.
Although Cinnabon quickly deleted the tweet, nothing stays hidden in the world of social media. By the time the company had corrected its mistake, the damage had already been done, and several Twitter users had captured it for all eternity.
— Jim Lokay #fox5dc (@LokayFOX5) December 27, 2016
In case the symbolism of the Cinnabon tweet is lost on you, an artist sprinkled cinnamon on a surface to create an image of Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher’s iconic Star Wars role. A Cinnabon roll serves as a visual metaphor for the hair style Leia war in the original movie.
Twitter users were outraged, alleging that Cinnabon was capitalizing on Carrie Fisher’s death.
— Sky Hartman (@Skyhartman) December 27, 2016
Other users weren’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon.
I feel like Carrie Fisher would have gotten a kick out of the Cinnabon tweet to be honest.
— Calvin (@calvinstowell) December 27, 2016
For its part, Cinnabon posted a follow-up tweet, claiming that they intended no offense.
Our deleted tweet was genuinely meant as a tribute, but we shouldn’t have posted it. We are truly sorry.
— Cinnabon (@Cinnabon) December 28, 2016
Cinnabon is, of course, not the first company to post a tweet that some observers took the wrong way. In fact, it tends to happen frequently, as ABC News reported in 2013.
For example, in December, 2013, Campbell’s Soup tweeted an image of a Spaghetti-O mascot holding an American flag, with the caption, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” The tweet, which was sent out on Pearl Harbor Day, angered thousands of Twitter users who thought it made light of a deadly attack to sell product. Similarly, in October, 2013, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a tweet “congratulating” a Georgia Lottery winner by saying he could purchase “40 acres and a whole lotta mules,” a reference to a post-Civil War proposal to give freed blacks “40 acres and a mule.”
In this day and age, a company’s social media presence could make a huge difference about the company’s public image, according to a 2014 Forbes report. The benefits include increased brand loyalty, an enhanced customer experience, and the opportunity for the company to gauge the public’s opinion about the company and respond to criticisms, among other benefits.
Similarly, mistakes on social media can have devastating consequences for a company, according to a 2013 CIO report. One particular danger, says writer Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, is what she calls “Newsjacking.” That is, taking a news event — such as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, or the death of a famous actress — and inserting yourself into the conversation.
“Exercise caution before inserting yourself into the conversation. Without evaluating the implications, your company risks looking insensitive or ignorant, which can [harm] your reputation.”
Unfortunately, too many companies treat social media as an afterthought, often outsourcing the job to third party providers who may not fully understand the company’s culture or its customers. For this reason, a single ill-advised tweet or Facebook post, made by an employee who failed to think things through, can create ill will in an instant.
Do you think Cinnabon’s tweet about Carrie Fisher was insensitive?
[Featured Image by Adam Gregor/Shutterstock]